Preoperative Embolization of Head, Neck, and Spine Tumors
Tumors can be highly vascularized structures and this large amount of blood vessels can lead to excessive bleeding during surgical removal. In some cases, patients undergoing a surgical resection of a tumor of the head, neck, or spine are referred for a procedure to reduce blood supply to the tumor. This procedure is known as pre-operative tumor embolization. A small catheter is advanced under x-ray guidance into the region of the blood vessels supplying a tumor. After angiographic evaluation of the blood supply, blood vessels can be intentionally plugged by injecting small particles or glue-like material into the arteries. This technique aims to “devascularize,” the tumor and reduce intra-operative bleeding.